Talking Boxing

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Taylor hoping to bring back the good old days


In the 19th century Edinburgh was known as “Modern Athens” and tonight sees the gladiatorial art of championship boxing return to the city after a nine-year absence.

Local resident Josh Taylor (6-0, 6 KOs) will be looking to gain the Commonwealth super lightweight title against Derby’s Dave Ryan (17-9, 4 KOs) at the Meadowbank Sports Centre, live on Channel 5 in the UK.

Fellow Edinburgh born boxer “Amazing” Alex Arthur was the last boxer to fight for titles in the city, successfully gaining British, Commonwealth and European honours as well as an interim world title (later awarded as a full version) at the same venue Taylor entertains on tonight.

However, as you delve back in history, Edinburgh has been relatively starved of top level action other than by those exploits of Arthur between 2003 and 2007.

Ricky Burns has fought in the city on two occasions; however both of these bouts were prior to winning any of his domestic or world honours. One of these bouts was of course his loss to Arthur for the British, Commonwealth and European crowns at Meadowbank. Former world champions Scott Harrison, Paul Weir, Pat Clinton and Jim Watt never furnished the city with their presence.

Looking back further the likes of Walter McGowan, Jackie Paterson, Johnny Hill and Tancy Lee all held domestic and world titles at some point, but only ever fought in Edinburgh in non-title bouts. 
Benny Lynch had 119 fights during the 1930’s, but the biggest it came in Edinburgh was a non-title defence at Edinburgh National Sporting Club three months after winning the World flyweight title.

However, most surprising of all is the absence of Edinburgh’s favourite son, Ken Buchanan. Buchanan never fought in Edinburgh; in fact he only ever fought in Scotland four times during an illustrious 69 fight career. This is even more astonishing when you consider the fact he fought in seven capital cities and 11 different countries whilst building his stellar resume. 

It will be hoped by all residents of Auld Reekie that Josh Taylor will open a new dawn for boxing in the capital, and the early signs have been good. After a successful amateur career that climaxed with Commonwealth gold in Glasgow in 2014, he has turned over to the pros with aplomb. After signing with Barry McGuigan’s Cyclone promotions and being trained by his son Shane, the “Tartan Tornado” has stopped his first six opponents within two rounds. Whilst such victories have come against journeymen opposition, he has looked mightily impressive.

Ryan stands in his way on Saturday night. The Derby man is coming off a knockout defeat to John Wayne Hibbert last year; however he does hold good wins against Hibbert, Tyrone Nurse and Paul McCloskey as well as a narrow defeat to Sam Eggington in 2013.

This is a definite step up for Taylor; Ryan is more than capable of asking questions of the younger man. However it is likely Taylor will take over as the bout progresses with it being predicted that Taylor will get to the 33-year-old in the championship rounds.

According to McGuigan Snr, this could set up an all Scottish encounter between Taylor and Burns further down the line. Either way, Taylor will be looking to leave residents of the capital licking their lips at the prospect of memorable nights to rival those of Arthur’s almost a decade ago.